I’m sitting in a leaned-back bench overlooking a turquoise river. I’ve got a beer in my hand and relaxation on my mind. Tomorrow we will be whitewater rafting, but tonight it’s all about kicking back and eating delicious food. This is Bosnia.
I don’t know about you, but when I think about Bosnia my mind flashes to the Yugoslav Wars
of the 1990s. Ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity…it was an awful time. So, when I found myself sitting above the banks of the idyllic Drina River in Bosnia, sipping a beer before a delightful dinner I couldn’t get over the contrast. This is Bosnia?
Of course, times have changed since the wars ended in 2001, thank goodness. And now this part of Bosnia, just across the river from Montenegro, is an adventurer’s paradise. We came to Tara Canyon and Rafting Centre Drina-Tara for whitewater rafting adventures in the Tara River Canyon. We left with a new love for Bosnia and family bonding in the outdoors.
White water or whitewater? The AP Style Book says whitewater, but the BBC uses white water, white-water, and whitewater. I’m going the BBC route and mixing it up!
White Water Rafting and Camping
Well, it’s not exactly camping, more like glamping. Lucky for us since we aren’t carrying camping equipment around during this year of travel. We started out by checking into a cute little bungalow. It was cozy and clean with a modern bathroom. Our room had a double bed and bunk bed. The bungalows are tiny, but it’s not like we spent a lot of time in there, so it was perfect for a quiet night’s sleep.
One thing we discovered is that there are a lot of white water rafting companies in the area and they don’t all fulfill the promises they make on their website. Rafting Center Drina- Tara does. What you see online is what you get in reality. And what we got was a lovely place to stay and the best white water rafting in Bosnia and Montenegro.
The White Water Rafting Center
In addition to the cute sleeping bungalows, the rafting center has a kitchen and bar and a large, covered eating area. There are the other tables on an uncovered deck and hammocks for serious relaxers. This is all overlooking the Drina River. It’s worth hanging out at this rafting camp just to relax and eat the local food.
We had a huge and delicious dinner—and they made a veggie option for the boys and me—gathered around the fire for a bit and then retired to our beds for reading and sleep.
What is rafting? – It’s basically floating down a river in a raft. We do it all the time on the Yellowstone River in Montana. In this case, we were white water rafting, which is floating down a river in a raft and going through rapids or white water (or whitewater).
Rafting Bosnia, Rafting Montenegro
We had a leisurely morning, which included a big breakfast and more relaxing, before getting suited up for our Tara Canyon rafting. Drina Tara Rafting is really safety conscious—something you want when family river rafting. Their guides are certified and always thinking about safety. Whenever we let a foot come out from under the ropes we gripped for stability, our guide was quick to remind us to hold the form.
We were given wetsuits, life jackets, and helmets. As we squeezed into the wetsuits, I was glad to discover they seemed new and were clean.
We met our guide, Daniel, who was very professional and good with our kids.
We loaded up into Land Rovers for the drive into Montenegro and up the River Tara to the put-in.
After a quick lesson on paddling from Daniel, we pushed off into Tara River Canyon Montenegro side and the outdoor adventure rafting began. Rafting Tara River in June meant a few Class III+ rapids, smaller rapids, and some flat stretches. The water was a little low this year, according to Daniel, and the biggest, and maybe best white water rafting takes place in late spring.
We had a blast bouncing along the border between Bosnia and Montenegro. We started rafting Tara Canyon in Montenegro, got out and explored a waterfall in Bosnia, watched people jump off rocks into the river from Montenegro, and ended at our camp in Bosnia. It was my first international raft adventure.
Family White Water Rafting
When I was talking to the boys about white water rafting and what it was going to be like, I remembered how lucky I was to grow up with a mom who took us rafting. As far as I know, she didn’t know anything about running rivers herself, but she made family rafting trips happen for us a handful of times. We went on white water rafting adventures on the Arkansas River in Colorado and the Rio Grande in New Mexico, among others. I kind of took it for granted that everyone had an awesome mom doing awesome things, but now I know we were really fortunate. (Of course white water rafting trips is not a requirement for being a good mom.)
My brother and I continued this tradition on a trip to Panama where we went on the most adrenaline-spiking adventure rafting trip either of us ever experienced.
Now Henry and I are passing on the tradition to our kids with a guided white water rafting trip to add to their river floating repertoire.
Tara River Canyon Rafting
Montenegro white water rafting, or Bosnia rafting if you prefer, is as much about the scenery as the rapids. The turquoise water runs below lush vegetation-covered limestone. It almost looks like Central America in places, complete with a bird song soundtrack. Like the cave system we wandered through in Slovenia and the mountains we climbed in Croatia, this part of the Balkans is a karst landscape—easily dissolvable limestone. That means there are nooks and crannies and even small caves dissolved out of these mountains, the Tara River being the biggest dissolver of all.
At one point, Daniel pulled the boat to the side of the river so we can get out and see a waterfall. It’s a one minute walk to this pretty little fall with an inviting pool at the bottom. Some of our fellow rafters get in the pool and back under the waterfall, other pose on a rock in the sun for their Instagram photo. I didn’t have a waterproof phone case, so no photos for me—just being in the moment, gazing at a waterfall in Bosnia.
Back in the boat we hit a few more rapids, then came to a long, flat stretch where we jumped out of the boat and floated. The water was cold and the current deceptively fast. No one lasted long and Daniel grabbed our PFDs and pulled us back into the raft one by one.
The last bit of the float was without rapids. We passed under the bridge where we had crossed from Montenegro to Bosnia. The Montenegrin passport control was on our left and Bosnian passport control on the right.
The Piva River joined the Tara River and became the Drina River just upstream from our camp. Before we knew it, our 2.5 hour Tara River rafting fun was over and we were back at camp. We changed into dry clothes and sat down for another amazing meal at the rafting camp.
Best White Water Rafting Europe
I don’t know if this is the best white water rafting in Europe, but it was one of the best white water rafting trips I’ve been on. I am so glad we made rafting River Tara part of our family travel experience. I think, I hope, it will be one of those things our kids look back on and think about how cool their parents were, just like I do with my mom. And I love that my kids have a totally different impression of Bosnia than I did.
Good to Know for Rafting in Montenegro and Bosnia
- Check the website for white water rafting prices. They are super affordable.
- If you are coming from Montenegro and can’t take your rental car into Bosnia (we couldn’t), you can leave your vehicle at the border and someone from Rafting Center Drina-Tara will pick you up.
- Bring your passport. Our Tara tour involved crossing the border three times (plus once in a raft). The Rafting Tara Drina driver will hold on to your passport while you are rafting so it stays dry.
- They offer more than white water rafting day trips. We would have loved the overnight white water rafting trips, or doing a rafting and hiking trip. They offer ATV outings and jeep photo safaris, as well as combinations of all these activities.
- Next time we might rent a car in Bosnia and explore a little more.
More on inflatable watercraft here.
Want to see more of me looking ridiculous in a wetsuit? Check out this video from the time I went snorkeling with beluga whales in Churchill, Manitoba.
26 thoughts on “White Water Rafting Tara River Montenegro”
War is a terrible thing but the earth has a way of healing itself…once she’s allowed to! Get pics and updates…coming up on a year since I came to see you in MT. Will miss that this year
It was really nice getting an on the ground experience in Bosnia. And the people we met were so nice. I love having a new impression of the country. We will miss you, too! I think you need to come visit us in Austria in July or Sweden in August!
Those glamping bungalows are so cute! I’m not a camper at all, and will only go if there are facilities like this around. How awesome that your kids got to experience this! It’s so important to include kids on trips, they learn so much more than by sitting in a classroom.
I couldn’t agree more– our kids are out there learning every day! The bungalows are a nice way to be “out there” with the comfortable beds, a nice bathroom, and a roof overhead.
I did this but on a day tour from Kotor! I thought Tara Canyon was such a beautiful area and I would have loved to stay there for longer rather than just doing a day tour to raft and go home. This looks like it would have been the perfect solution for a place to stay there! We did drive over partly into Bosnia to start the tour, and when we got out halfway down the river we got out on the Bosnian side, so at least I can say I went to Bosnia… kind of! I’ll definitely keep this in mind if I head back that way (which I hope to do!)
I think a lot of people do day trips, but half the fun for us was hanging out in the camp (and eating!). Glad you got to explore the river, it does beckon one back, doesn’t it?
I don’t think I know anything about Bosnia, I did see it in the news years ago but I knew the problems were long over. I’m passing through Bosnia later this year so it’s very good to see some images and read some information on it (and Montenegro). White water rafting on the Tara river seems like a must do event, I’ll make sure I fit it in.
I think you will be delighted in Bosnia. And definitely look into Rafting Center Drina-Tara. For a room, food, and adventure, it is such a great deal!
Bosnia sound beautful and I am thrilled you are having such a great time. I too loved our rafting experiences as well as the camping and exploring. I imagine the boys just loved it too! Wish I was there, I would still love it! Thanks for sharing. Mom
It was a cool experience. And it was fun thinking about some of those rafting trips we did as a family.
Aww the white water rafting camping looks so adorable! I’d love to go glamping there! I’ve never gone rafting before, but I’m kinda interested in trying (a bit scared, though). I’ve never been to either Bosnia nor Montenegro, but would love to visit both!! The nature is lovely!
This would be a good river to get your feet wet on 😉 since the rapids aren’t too big this time of year. I never felt like I was going to get thrown out of the boat or anything (that has happened on other rivers).
I’ve always enjoyed camping and didn’t mind roughing it when I was younger but the cabins look more like my pace now. With a hammock for relaxing it certainly would have been a calm way to begin your journey. I love how you said that the rafting was as much about the scenery as the rapids, and I can see why. It looks from the photos that this is beautiful country to raft through.
It really was a relaxing overall experience. We weren’t expecting how nice it would be just to hang out in the camp. We knew the rafting would be fun!
Bosnia looks like an exciting place to explore. The bungalows look nice. I think glamping is the best way to camp because you do not need to bring so much stuff. White water rafting seems like a great outdoor activity in Bosnia. I certainly would like to join.
I think you would love it! And Bosnia/Montenegro is so beautiful.
Those glamping huts look absolutely cute! I’ve been on a rafting once and that too was a Class III rapids. Hoping to do a high speed rapid soon in future!
Its good that they made you and your boys some veggie dinner!
Don’t worry about not photographing! Sometimes its good to ditch the gadgets and just enjoy the place!
I agree- it’s nice to just enjoy sometimes!
I would love to do this, it looks like so much fun. I want to do the glamping. I have never been camping or glamping but think I would really enjoy it here.
This would be a great place to get your feet wet (pun intended) with camping/glamping!
This is right up my alley. I love trying adventurous things in beautiful surroundings. I’ve never tried white water rafting but it’s been on my list for years. Reading this is the final push I need to book a trip, thank you! And cheers to glamping:-)
Do glad we can get you inspired to get on the river! It really is a great time. And when you go with a guide, you don’t even need and whitewater skills :).
Love this description. Reminds me of my two trips one on the Snake at low water—-the next was 8 days on the Zambezi River starting at the base of Victoria Falls. A bit of a contrast from simple to Class 5’s but all great fun!! Still love following you. The last two weeks have been a bit different with Sarah’s accident but she is better although it is going to be VERY slow getting through the recovery and that is hard for her. The good news is that I can read all your dialogs and watch all of the videos, some of which I had missed.
Love to All
I am so inspired by your adventurous life! Rafting on the Zambezi River sounds amazing. Maybe you need to put Montenegro/Bosnia on your list! So sorry to hear about Sarah. I wouldn’t have much patience for a slow recovery, either. Send lots of love and healing energy her way!
You are right, I think I need to put Montenegro/Bosnia on my list!! All you are doing sound and look wonderful.
Sarah doing better slowly and I am in hopes that maybe the end of this next week will have her going home!
Yesterday she spent a lot of time on the porch on a lovely day but then I think she payed for too much time there later. It is a process!!
Hugs to you all!!
Wishing her a speedy recovery!